And I have to say it now
It's been a good life all in all
It's really fine
To have a chance to hang around
And lie there by the fire
And watch the evening tire
While all my friends and my old lady
Sit and pass the pipe around
And talk of poems and prayers and promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long it's been since yesterday
And what about tomorrow
And what about our dreams
And all the memories we share
(Poems, Prayers, and Promises by John Denver)
The summer solstice was celebrated and we have officially entered into fire pit season in Montana. Over a year ago I transformed a part of our backyard into a fire pit area. It is one of my favorite places to be in the evening during the summer . . . it is also a favorite of the family. So far, we have only had a couple of evenings around the fire pit . . . and, I am longing to be there now.
Long, long ago, families and people gathered around the fire pit in the evenings. There they would watch the flames dance, listen to the music of the crackling, and they would commune with nature, God, and one another in the stillness of the night. Stories would be told—origins would be shared—history exposed—purpose and meaning—poems, prayers, and promises . . . all through stories. There would be laughter . . . and, there would be tears hidden in the shadows of the fire. But it would be a time for families and people to connect in ways that they could do nowhere else in their lives. It was communion.
Though I have never said it to my family or friends, I find the time sitting around the fire pit to be a time of communion . . . a time of unplanned holiness. I enjoy sitting around the fire listening to everyone talk, swap stories, and laugh. It is in these moments that barriers are broken, walls are torn down, and a part of ourselves is exposed to reveal our most intimate selves. Around the fire the conversation is different, more intimate, more revealing . . . it is a time of poems, prayers, and promises whether we realize it or not. It is sacred time.
Around the fire pit, life is good. It really is. It is good to have an opportunity to be with family and friends . . . to watch the evening tire as the sun goes down . . .
In the flames of fire we offer ourselves to one another. We break the bread, lift the cup . . . symbols of life . . . and, we offer them to one another. We speak in poems . . . lyrical words of life; we offer prayers . . . of hope and mercy for one another; and we make promises . . . that we will never forget how much we love one another, how much we care. We will sup upon our time together around the fire . . . we will embrace the time we share . . .
Around the fire pit we are moved beyond the present moment . . . yesterday is behind us, tomorrow is yet to come . . . it is in the presence of those gathered that mean the most. It is the memories that we share. The stories that we tell. I love the laughter . . . it is music to my soul. A good evening around the fire pit does that for me, and for others, I suspect. But, please . . . please, don’t tell anyone else about the sacredness of the fire pit. Sometimes it is best to experience the holy and never know. John Denver sings it best: